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French as a Second Language

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French as a Second Language

Hamilton Wentworth District School Board’s (HWDSB) French as a Second Language Programming is guided by the three core priorities set out in A Framework for French as a Second Language in Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 1-12:

  • Increase student confidence, proficiency and achievement in French as a Second Language (FSL)
  • Increase the percentage of students studying FSL until graduation
  • Increase student, educator, parent, and community engagement in FSL

These core priorities are at the forefront of HWDSB’s commitment to FSL that envisions:

“All students communicating and interacting with growing confidence in French.”

HWDSB offers two FSL programs – Core French and French Immersion.  Each of the programs differ in intensity but share a common purpose: To develop student’s communication skills in the French language.

The programs teach students to listen, speak, read, and write in French through real world language opportunities. French as a Second Language also promotes the use of language learning strategies, goal setting/reflection and an appreciation of French culture in Canada and in other regions of the world.

French Immersion Registration

French Immersion ApplicationClick here to fill out the French Immersion Application Form,.

The registration window has ended, however, late registrations are still being accepted. 

Applications are only being accepted through the online application form.

A Grade 1 system-wide application process for entry to French Immersion allows for program placement of students, monitoring of accommodations, balance of enrolment, and long-term stability of the French Immersion program.

Late Application: Late applications are still being accepted, however placement at the French Immersion catchment school will only be offered, if space is available. A spot in the program will be offered, but at another school with French Immersion Programming and transportation will not be provided. Upon registration, families will receive a confirmation email. Families will be notified of late placements after January 15, 2018. After this date, families who registered late will be notified of placement on a monthly basis.

We guarantee an offer of placement in the program (not a specific school). Please take note of the important dates:

Friday, October 20, 2017 Application process opens for Senior Kindergarten students
Thursday, November 30, 2017 Deadline for applications
Friday, December 15, 2017 Program location offered to Parent/Guardian
Monday, January 15, 2018 Deadline for program acceptance and registration

Please note:

  • Families with an older sibling currently in French Immersion are still required to complete an online application for the new student.
  • You will require your child’s Ontario Education Number (OEN) to register, which can be found on their last report card. 

Criteria for French Immersion Placement

  • Availability of the program closest to the student’s home address, based on their French Immersion boundary.
  • Grade 1 siblings entering French Immersion may attend the same school as their older sibling currently in French Immersion, space permitting.
  • Balance of English and French Immersion enrolment in dual track schools (50-60 per cent in English or French).
  • Year over year impact as students progress through Grades 1-8.

French Immersion Schools and Boundaries

Sherwood Secondary School Cluster Westdale Secondary School Cluster
A.M. Cunningham Bennetto*
École Élémentaire Michaëlle Jean Cootes Paradise
Fessenden Dundana
Glen Echo Earl Kitchener
Lawfield Guy B. Brown
Norwood Park Mary Hopkins

*Bennetto Elementary School is not experiencing accommodation pressures. Therefore, Grade 1 students living within the French Immersion catchment will be automatically accepted into the program at this school.

Admission After Grade 1

Students may enter French Immersion after Grade 1 only after a review of the student’s records or confirmation of an equivalent background in French. The application will be reviewed for a determination of placement. Students who are accepted into the program will be offered a placement in their French Immersion catchment school if there is space. Transportation will be provided according to the Transportation Policy.

If there is no space in the French Immersion catchment school, the placement will be offered in another school with French Immersion programming and transportation will not be provided.

French Immersion Information

  • a proven way of acquiring excellent language skills in French
  • specifically designed for parents who do not speak French, but wish their children to speak both official languages
  • begins in Grade 1 and all students in the city of Hamilton are eligible
Early French Immersion booklet

French Immersion Booklet


Support for your child


Canadian Parents for French


Parent Guide to Supporting Your Child’s Success in French Immersion and Extended French

For more information about French Immersion, please review the following materials:

You can also connect with Hamilton’s Francophone community to learn about events and activities, or call HWDSB’s French Consultant at 905-527-5092 ext. 2653.


Visit our find a school page to find what French Immersion school your child would attend.

Family of Schools – WESTDALE

Family of Schools – SHERWOOD

Bennetto (Gr. 1-3)

47 Simcoe Street East
Bennetto Website

Cootes Paradise (Gr. 1-5)

900 King Street West
Cootes Paradise Website

Dalewood (Gr. 6-8)

1150 Main Street West
Dalewood Website

Dundana (Gr. 1-5)

23 Dundana Avenue
Dundana Website

Earl Kitchener (Gr. 1-5)

300 Dundurn Street South
Earl Kitchener Website

Guy B. Brown (Gr. 1-8)

55 Braeheid Avenue
Guy B. Brown Website

Mary Hopkins (Gr. 1-3)

211 Mill Street North
Mary Hopkins Website

Ryerson (Gr. 6-8)

222 Robinson Street
Ryerson Website

Sir William Osler (Gr. 6-8)

330 Governor’s Road
Sir William Osler Website

A.M. Cunningham (Gr. 1-5)

100 Wexford Avenue South
A.M. Cunningham Website

Ancaster Senior (Gr. 7-8)

295 Nakoma Road
Ancaster Senior Website

École Élémentaire Michaëlle Jean (Gr. 1-8)

121 Highway # 56
École Élémentaire Michaëlle Jean Website

Fessenden (Gr. 1-6)

168 Huron Avenue
Fessenden Website

Glen Brae (Gr. 6-8)

50 Secord Drive
Glen Brae Website

Glen Echo (Gr. 1-5)

140 Glen Echo Drive
Glen Echo Website

Lawfield (Gr. 1-8)

45 Berko Avenue
Lawfield Website

Norwood Park (Gr. 1-8)

165 Terrace Drive
Norwood Park Website

There has been a significant shift in Core French programs across Ontario.  Core French Programs no longer rely on memorization of learning skills through drills of endless lists of verbs and vocabulary. Rather, Core French programs allow students to communicate and interact in authentic real-life scenarios.

At HWDSB, learning activities focus as much on listening and speaking as on reading and writing.  Opportunities for student conversations are maximized to develop communication and interaction skills and growing confidence in French.

Elementary Core French Programming

At the elementary level, Core French is mandatory for all students in English-language elementary schools.  Students receive up to 200 minutes of French instruction per week and must have accumulated a minimum of 600 hours of French instruction by the end of Grade 8. Often the French as a Second Language teacher is a specialist who teaches multiple grades.

The goal of this program is to develop basic communication skills in French. Therefore, opportunities for oral interaction and spontaneous discussion are offered. The program also develops students’ appreciation of French culture in Canada and in other parts of the world.

All students are taught using the expectations of the French as a Second Language Ontario Curriculum. Teachers use their professional judgement to select materials and promote discussions that support student engagement, ability and confidence.

Guiding Documents

French as a Second Language Grades 1 to 8 Curriculum

French as a Second Language Grades 1 to 8 Curriculum

French as a Second Language Grades 1 to 8 Curriculum

Including Students with Special Education Needs in French as a Second Language Programs

Growing Success - Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools

Growing Success – Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools

Frequently Asked Questions

What can my child expect to learn in Core French?

A child in the Core French program can expect to develop the communication skills needed to understand and interact with others, to express themselves and to communicate simple ideas at a basic level.

How can I be involved in the Core French Program at my school, if I don’t speak French?

Studies show that students perform better in school if their parents/guardians are involved in their education.  Parents/guardians can be involved in the Core French program in a variety of ways:

  • Get to know your child’s teacher, and participate in parent-teacher interviews.
  • Encourage your child to learn French.  Turn the tables – let your child teach you French! This will build his or her confidence and self-esteem.
  • Offer your child the opportunity to hear and speak French in authentic situations outside of the classroom, such as
    • watching French television,
    • listening to French radio,
    • reading French books
    • viewing the ISE website
    • participating in franco-cultural events offered by local francophone organizations
      • Centre Francais Hamilton offers monthly family events which includes concerts, shows and summer festivals.

What do I do if my child encounters difficulties in Core French?

If you are concerned that your child is experiencing difficulties, you should contact the Core French teacher together you can discuss what can be done to help your child’s learning. Most children encounter challenges from time to time, but if your child is worried or frustrated, it could be a sign of an underlying problem that should be resolved as soon as possible. Children progress at different rates and learn in different ways, so teachers plan instruction and assessment considering students’ interests, learning styles, and previously acquired knowledge and skills.

Helpful Resources

DELFThe Diplome d’Etude de Langue Francaise (DELF) is a diploma issued by the French Ministry of National Education in recognition of French-language studies. The CIEP (Centre international d’études pédagogiques) is the public organization appointed by France’s Ministry of National Education to oversee the teaching and administrative aspects of the examination. These diplomas show a student’s proficiency in French and are recognized around the world.

In the spring of each year, HWDSB offers all Grade 12 Core and Immersion students the opportunity to challenge the DELF and demonstrate their French-language skills at three levels: A2, B1, B2. Each diploma corresponds to one of the four lower levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. At each level, a series of examinations evaluates the four communication skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Your child, with the support of their teacher, will self-select which diploma to try for.

Students who successfully challenge the DELF will have:

  • life-long certification
  • recognition of their proficiency in French
  • a document for their resume or portfolio
  • a description of what they can do in oral communication, listening, reading and writing in French
  • a certified language assessment for acceptance into a French University
  • travel, job and educational opportunities

More information about DELF:

Students need to connect with their French teacher for more information.

French as a Second Language (FASL) Advisory Committee is advisory in nature with a focus on French programming in elementary and secondary as well as Ministry and community supports that enhance the learning experience for our students.

FASL meeting dates.

French As a Second Language Community Advisory Committee

Wed Sep 27 2017 7:00 PM

All meetings held in Room 181 A/B from 7:00-9:00 pm.


French As a Second Language Community Advisory Committee

Wed Nov 29 2017 7:00 PM

All meetings held in Room 301 from 7:00-9:00 pm.


French As a Second Language Community Advisory Committee

Wed Jan 31 2018 7:00 PM

All meetings held in Room 301 from 7:00-9:00 pm.


French As a Second Language Community Advisory Committee

Wed Mar 28 2018 7:00 PM

All meetings held in Room 301 from 7:00-9:00 pm.

French As a Second Language Community Advisory Committee

Wed May 30 2018 7:00 PM

All meetings held in Room 301 from 7:00-9:00 pm.


Transportation for French Immersion is offered to students whose in catchment school exceeds the walking distances of:

Elementary School Grades 1-8 1.6 kms

The method of transportation for elementary French Immersion is:

Grade 1 to 6 – Black and Yellow Buses with community stops.
A community stop is a centrally-located stop, similar to a transit style stop, for students and may not be within walking distance of a student’s home. Community stops may change year to year based on the home addresses of students.

Grade 7 and 8 – HSR (unless there is an existing route that accommodates these students)

Where HSR is not available, alternative transportation will be provided.

Updated on Thursday, March 22, 2018.
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